Structural improvements were among the changes that helped the 2015 Nissan Sentra earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award.
Related: 2015 Nissan Sentra: What’s Changed
Nissan modified the compact car's front structure, A-pillar and doorsill, allowing the Sentra to earn the top score of good in the small overlap frontal crash test, which replicates a car's front corner hitting a another vehicle or tree. The 2013-14 Sentra received the lowest score of poor in that crash test. The 2015 Sentra also has a longer side curtain airbag to better protect the driver's head in a crash.
In addition to the good score in the small overlap test, the 2015 Sentra also earned the top score in front moderate overlap, side-impact, roof-strength and head restraints and seats crash tests. To earn a Top Safety Pick award, a car must receive the top score of good in those four tests and a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test.